Suspect in Cheektowaga Dollar General shooting pleads ‘not guilty’

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Cheektowaga Police say a man fired dozens rounds at the Dollar General on Union Road Tuesday afternoon.

Cheetowaga Police rushed the store just before 3 p.m.

“The first officers on scene encountered total chaos,” said Chief David Zack.

A man wearing body armor and camouflage was running away, according to Chief Zack. Officers told him to stop multiple times but he refused.

The man was later identified as 29-year-old Cheektowaga resident Travis Green.

According to the District Attorney’s office, Green had gone into the Dollar General and tried to apply for a job, but left irate. Police say it’s clear that he had deadly intention- and that it’s lucky that no one was seriously injured.

“After a brief foot pursuit, the subject was tackled to the ground by officers,” he said. “No shots were exchanged between the suspect and CPD officers.”

Here is a video of officers taking the suspect down:

APP USERS | Tap here to enable the video.

He told News 4 the suspect was not armed when he was taken into custody. At some point, Green was injured but police couldn’t tell us whether it happened before or during his arrest.

Police recovered two AR-15 rifles from the scene and 850 live rounds. It is not clear how Green got the weapons, authorities say.

They believe Green acted alone.

A 53-year-old man was shot, taken to a hospital, and released last night.

“We had a couple civilians who had a crucial role” in stopping the attacker, Chief Zack said. “These individuals saved lives. They are heroes.”

News 4 asked if the attack was planned.

“We can’t speculate on that,” said Chief Zack. “He is not being cooperative with us at all so motive, pre-planning, all of those things we’re just unsure of at this time.”

Terrorism has been ruled out as a motive for now, but that could change as the FBI continues to investigate.

During the investigation, an NFTA K-9 detected a potentially explosive substance on the suspect’s vehicle. ATF and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad determined there was no threat.

“These are the times we live in, sadly, and when you have an incident like this we have to take every precaution,” said Chief Zack.

He praised his officers for responding to the scene in just four minutes, despite initial confusion about which Dollar General the shooter was at. Chief Zack said the caller just told dispatchers there was a man with a gun at the Dollar General store in Cheektowaga.

He told us there were about three customers in the store at the time of the shooting, as well as several clerks.

The glass front entrance-way was shattered by bullets.

“It’s a miracle I’m not at this podium reading off the names of the dead,” said Chief Zack at a press conference. “We’re blessed, we’re fortunate for that. Those persons inside the store are spending quality time with loved ones, they clearly were extremely lucky.”

Green was charged with Attempted Murder, Criminal Use of a Firearm, Reckless Endangerment, Assault, Unlawful Wearing of Body Armor and Resisting Arrest. He pleaded ‘not guilty’ to all of the charges against him on Wednesday morning.

A judge ordered Green be held without bail. He will be back in court on Monday for a preliminary hearing.

Green’s mother, Viola, appeared with him in court Wednesday for his arraignment. She tells News 4 Green had recently lost his job and his wife was leaving him. Things “boiled over,” she said.

“This is just horrible. My brother’s not like that,” Green’s sister, Sky, said after the arraignment. “He’s very intelligent, really fun to be with, and I don’t want to see my brother locked up. This is just a tragedy. This is crazy.”

Green’s attorney says he has no previous criminal record, but police say Green had previous contact with them. The incidents were minor, and the last one happened in 2013, police say.

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